The first ever Bluegrass Forever Green Sustainability Summit will take place tomorrow, Thursday, October 30, 2014, in Lexington, Kentucky. It will take place at the Marriott Griffin Gate from 9:30 a.m. until 12:00 noon. The regional non-profit, Bluegrass Tomorrow, will be hosting the event.
The event focuses mainly on sustainability and those who attend will hear from local action teams who have experience designing and implementing practices. The teams come from Louisville, Cincinnati, northern Kentucky, and central Kentucky.
The goal is to share practices that have worked with others businesses and organizations and institutions in the region that are dedicated to environmental sustainability. Collectively as a group, they hope to improve the quality of life and economic development as an ultimate result.
Focus topics will revolve around locally grown foods, clean water, sustainable energy, outdoor recreation and green spaces, waste and recycling and transportation.
Presentations will be made from the following groups at the summit: Bluegrass Greensource; Louisville Sustainability Council; Green Umbrella in Cincinnati; Bluegrass Earth, which is focusing on Earth Day and Earth Month 2015; Bluegrass Bike Hike Horseback Trails and Kentucky River Water Trails Alliances; Kentucky Sustainable Business Council; Kentucky College & University Carbon Consortium; Empower Lexington/Green Infrastructure; and the Bluegrass Youth Sustainability Council.
Attendees are asked to give feedback following presentations at the end of the event. They will be asked “What are other green and sustainable initiatives and organizations in your community and central Kentucky; what issues are facing the region and the Commonwealth that impact sustainability; and what programs would improve our local environment?”
Bobby Clark, or Bluegrass Tomorrow’s Greenvision Initiative spoke a little about the summit and what their hopes are. He talked with Tom Martin from Kentucky.com about what sustainability means to him and what they want to see in the future.
“We are so excited about hosting this event because we believe this is the beginning of the creation of an important initiative in central Kentucky that will aggregate the strength of many passionate people and organizations that want to conserve and protect our environment. Louisville and Cincinnati have launched sustainability organizations that have grown rapidly through citizen involvement and growing awareness. We need to do the same thing in central Kentucky and collaborate with the others on statewide and larger regional opportunities.”
“As we consume things, whether we eat them, put fuel in our cars, pay the electric bills or just survive in society, we need to become more conscious about the consumption of natural resources that are limited in scope and balance how we go about living our lives and how we work.
“Portland, Ore., Denver, Colo., San Francisco and other communities around the country, mainly in the west, have established what are called sustainability or eco-districts. And basically, it’s a neighborhood or a downtown area that bands together and says ‘We want to do everything we can to be as energy efficient and sustainable as we can.’ So they look at say, green roofs. They look at changing the lights to LEDs and changing out the HVAC systems to more energy-star related. They look at how you can put solar on your rooftop, consuming energy that is renewable. We’re excited to be working with the city of Louisville’s Office of Sustainability, with the downtown development corporation, working with the mayor’s office, the University of Louisville and the NuLu Business Association. NuLu is near downtown Louisville close to the Yum Arena. And this community has transformed itself. It’s a hip place to go. People are coming from all over to visit this. Gil Holland built the first green building. He retrofitted a 108-year old facility and made it the first platinum LEED building in Kentucky. He and other business leaders have gotten together and are supporting our effort.
“The real key is aggregation. If we can bring together 10 or 20 or 50 building owners to look at solar, look at any kind of energy efficiency, we can do that by scale, and that way we can reach out to vendors and reach out for creative financing to help us do that whole community. In the end, as the community transforms itself, it’s going to be a powerful economic development tool as the folks in Louisville begin to spread the word about all the cool things that are happening in Louisville, including this eco-district.”
There is no registration fee for the event, but they want people to pre-register just so they have a prior headcount. The event is open to all! Registration can be done at bluegrasstomorrow.org or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.